Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education & Research


Ed Wischmeyer






"The goal of most college flight programs is not to produce general aviation pilots, but rather professional pilots who also attain AA/BS degree-related life skills," wrote one professor [emphases his]. A central thesis of this paper is that before college flight graduates can compete for "professional" jobs, they will need post-graduation flight experience, i.e., general aviation experience, and to get those general aviation jobs, graduates will also need excellent general aviation skills - which flight collegiate programs commonly do not provide. The professor's comment is explicitly condescending in its differentiation between general aviation and "professional" flying. This hubris is part of the collegiate aviation problem -training to "professional" standards in general aviation aircraft, and using a college's own graduates to perpetuate a limited, tightly constrained, incestuous training program in general aviation aircraft does not mean that those graduates are exposed to or qualified for the "real world" of general aviation. Being both an ATP/CFII and a professor at a flight-oriented university, but teaching in a non-flight department, provided a unique, close up, but outsider's view of collegiate flight "education." Three criteria come to mind for evaluating the efficacy of collegiate flight program philosophies: training, education, and experience. Training means training for flight, both on the ground and in the air; education refers to both traditional academia and also to "flight education," the latter a possibly new concept; and experience means marketable flight experience as opposed to just hours logged. This paper looks at flight "education" and these three standards, based both on lifelong participation in general aviation at multiple levels and also time spent observing a big name flight university.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.